There are now 40 confirmed cases of measles in Northland with another seven cases under investigation. This is up from 34 cases as advised on 3 September.
From 1 January 2019 to 10 September 2019 there have been 1149 confirmed cases of measles notified across New Zealand. 959 of these confirmed cases are in the Auckland region.
"Given that Northland is so close to Auckland and people regularly travel there, it isn't surprising that the number of measles cases in Northland is increasing," noted Dr Brad Novak, Medical Officer of Health.
"The majority of the 40 cases in Northland have a link to Auckland, or to already known cases in our region."
In terms of where the measles cases are it is essential to realise that the measles virus is invisible and airborne. No matter where you live if you are not immunised, and you come in contact with the virus, there is a high chance that you will contract measles.
"Effectively, if you are immune against measles you do not have to worry. Our goal is to ensure that those who are eligible are immunised because this will protect our very young children and those who are unable to be vaccinated."
Measles starts a bit like the flu with fevers, cough, runny nose, and sore red eyes with a rash appearing on day 3-5.
If you think you or someone you know may have measles call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for advice.
If you need urgent care call ahead and let the GP, ambulance, or Emergency Department know you think you might have measles.
Make an appointment with your GP for a free vaccine or Children and adults in Whangarei can get a free MMR vaccine at the Child Wellbeing Hub at 22b Commerce Street on Tuesdays and Thursdays, no appointment needed.
Children who have not been immunised or who are immunocompromised should stay away from schools where measles cases have been reported.
If you are between the ages of 15 and 29, you should check your immunisation records to make sure you received two doses of the MMR vaccine as a child. If you didn’t receive two doses, or can’t confirm whether you did or not, you should visit a clinic for a free measles vaccine.
Because measles used to be very common, people over the age of 50 are considered immune and don’t need an immunisation.
Pregnant women should not get immunised against measles. If you're pregnant and think you may have measles or have come in contact with someone with measles, you should call your general practice, lead maternity carer or Healthline on 0800 611 116 as soon as possible.
Infants under 12 months old are best protected if family members, whānau and carers have had their vaccinations.
Infants 12–15 months old who live in the Auckland region are eligible for the first dose of the free MMR vaccine immediately.
Infants 12–15 months old who will be travelling to the Auckland region should be taken to a clinic for a free dose of the MMR vaccine at least two weeks before travelling to build immunity.
Infants who do not live in the Auckland region and do not plan to travel there should receive the first dose of MMR vaccine at 15 months old as usual.
Infants aged 6 to 15 months travelling overseas should receive an early dose of the MMR vaccine at least two weeks before travelling to a country with an active measles outbreak. This includes a number of countries and regions, including Hong Kong, the United States and Canada, as well as parts of Europe and Southeast Asia.